In keeping with the time period we were studying in history this year, many of our read-alouds were about the Renaissance and Reformation. All were a delight, all I would recommend. The children who were in on our read-aloud sessions (and actually paying attention ;) ) were 12, 10, 8, and 6.
Set in 1587, Red Hugh, Prince of Donegal is a fast-paced, exciting story of warring between the English and the Irish. Definitely a worthwhile read.
Soldier Fritz and the Enemies He Fought is a story of the Reformation. Set in 1525, young Fritz learns what it means to live like a Reformer and be a soldier for Christ.
Bartholomew’s Passage is part of the wonderful Advent series written by Arnold Ytreeide. Favorites here: we've done the series twice now.
Before the Dawn follows Wycliffe and Huss, and brings us into the life of a young man named Conrad who must choose between the church he's always known and the words of Scripture.
We read The Year of Miss Agnes because we needed a light-hearted little break from the heavy topics of our history studies. A delightful story of an itinerant school teacher in Alaska and the sweet and funny children under her care.
And then we jumped into King Solomon’s Mines, where adventure loomed large. Got any Indiana Jones fans in your house? King Solomon's Mines' Allan Quartermain was the original Indy. And we laughed out loud, too!
My Brother’s Keeper is a series of letters from an older brother to a younger one, writing on various topics. I read it to all the kids because I felt we could all use reminders on being in the Word, serving others, and choosing friends wisely. I highly recommend it as a read-aloud for the youngers, but high schoolers can read it on their own.
From out of the Renaissance and Reformation we headed into the New World. Voyage to Freedom is the story of the Pilgrims' journey on the Mayflower, and in particular focuses on a brother and sister and their point of view. We all liked this one because it didn't soft-sell how difficult the journey actually was, and the story had nice little ups and downs.
Hands That Hold the World: the Biography of M.A. Thomas has been an inspiration to me, personally. I see my kids pondering the faith of M.A. Thomas, and I love the discussions we've had around the table about the man and his work in India. I want to inspire my kids to break out of the mold and serve God, no matter the cost. M.A. Thomas has done so in such a way that his steadfastness is awe-inspiring. You can click on the link and download the book for free.
The Shakespeare Stealer is a romp through Shakespeare's London. If this is the time period you're heading into next year, put The Shakespeare Stealer on your list. Orphan Widge learns to write in a remarkable shorthand that takes him into the Globe Theater and changes his life!
...and Shakespeare’s Scribe, every bit as good as it's predecessor!
I've read The Witch of Blackbird Pond twice now to my kids, and I find myself pondering different elements of the story often. That's the sign of good writing, isn't it? Thought-provoking, historically representative, and compelling story-telling.
My adventure-loving ten-year-old daughter adored Island of the Blue Dolphins. The story of a young native woman left stranded off the coast of California, this one will inspire your kids to get out into the backyard and try to start a fire with two sticks ;)